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Anonymous couple donates largest-ever gift to Houston Public Media

Anonymous couple donates largest-ever gift to Houston Public Media

Ernie Manouse, Joanne Herring King at Manor of Speaking Downtown Abbey last episode
Houston Public Media's Ernie Manouse and Joanne King Herring on the popular Manor of Speaking TV show. Matt Prendergast/Houston Public Media

At a time when many local and national media outlets are struggling, especially public stations, a beloved Houston institution has just received its largest-ever donation to keep its mission alive.

Houston Public Media has received an $8 million testamentary gift from an anonymous couple to “promote and produce public educational television and radio programming for the use and benefit of humanity,” the organization announced.

The gift will directly support the outlet’s news reporting and programming in education, arts, and sciences, according to a press release.While little is known about the generous donors, the couple “grew up with public radio and television and know the impact it makes on rural and urban communities,” said Lisa Shumate, Houston Public Media’s associate vice president and general manager, in a statement.

“They are longtime supporters of NPR and PBS and their gift will support Houston Public Media’s emphasis on advancing free speech, educating the community and ensuring fair, unbiased news. It’s such an honor that University of Houston alumni support Houston Public Media in this way.”

The gift will no doubt be a boon to popular entities such as News 88.7, KUHF, and Channel 8. One wonders: Just how many HPM coffee cups and tote bags does someone receive for $8 million?

Playful kidding aside, management adds that this investment will allow Houston Public Media to serve as “the community catalyst for Greater Houston with new content and resources.”Houston Public Media is a service of the University of Houston. The $8 million gift was made as a part of the University of Houston System’s “Here, We Go” Campaign, which ended on August 31.

Thus far, the campaign has raised more than $1.2 billion to support the UH System’s long-term priorities and its ongoing partnership with Houston.